Updated: Danville plant to idle 254 workers
Updated 4:47 p.m. Wednesday.
(Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said the plant would close).
DANVILLE — Freight Car America Inc. is idling its Danville plant, according to company officials.
The rail car manufacturing company filed a notice with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development, stating that the plant will be laying off workers beginning April 18 and extending through May 2. According to the notice, 254 workers will be affected by layoffs at the facility at 2313 Cannon St. on Danville's east side.
Joe McNeely, vice president of finance with Freight Car America, said Wednesday afternoon that the plant is not closing but will be idled and workers laid off due to a slowdown in rail car orders. He said the company continues to pursue new orders, and workers would be called back if orders are received.
The company filed the layoff notice in February in accordance with the Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which was signed into law on August 15, 2004, and requires employers to provide 60 days advance notice of pending plant closures or mass layoffs. The law applies to business enterprises with 75 or more employees, excluding part-time employees, according to the DCEO web site. Union employees at the plant are represented by the United Auto Workers Local 2419.
The Chicago-based company, which has manufacturing facilities in Danville and in Roanoke, Va., manufactures railroad freight cars, with particular expertise in coal-carrying cars. The Danville plant, established in the early 1900s as the main car shop for the Chicago & Eastern Illinois Railroad, was acquired by Freight Car America in 1995. The 308,000-square-foot plant had grown from a repair facility to a manufacturer of new freight cars.